About The Time I Forced Her

Claudia Altucher

I forced Claudia to do something she didn’t want to do. She was scared but I still made her do it.

She had written a lot of inspirational posts about yoga over the prior year. This was in 2010 or 2011. I forget.

I had her print up all of her articles and put them down on the ground. Admire them. Love them.

Then I had her gather up the ones she loved the most and make one pile.

Then I took a stapler and stapled them all together.

“There!” I said, “Now you have a book.”

But its just a collection of blog posts, she said.

Here’s the thing:

  • Very few people have read your blog
  • The people who search “yoga” on Amazon have never heard of you.
  • This is JUST a first draft. Rewrite it so it goes from a collection of blog posts to a real book.

Write more chapters. Build seamless connections between the various ideas. Do other “book” things. You’re going to have at least ten drafts before you have a book done.

  • You’re only going to charge 99 cents. I’d pay you 99 cents for a curation and rewriting of all of your best work. You aren’t asking for much.

I then took a sexy picture of her, doing a yoga pose on a rock leaning right over the Hudson River. That became the cover.

A few weeks later, we uploaded to Amazon. She actually made several changes to the book (with new uploads) after the first upload to Amazon.

For almost a year her book was #1 in the Yoga category on Amazon or, if not always #1, always in the top ten.

Was it a masterpiece! Was it “War and Peace”? Probably not. Was it her first book?

Yes! Now she was an author. A bestselling author. Since then she’s written two other books, both bestsellers. One a Wall St Journal bestseller.

She’s working on another book right now.

It’s easy to come up with excuses:

  1. it’s just a collection of blog posts
  2. it’s not perfect
  3. there are smarter yoga people out there than me,
  4. people are going to hate me if they see what I have to say

And many more excuses.

In fact, some people did hate her. Yoga people have a strange way of hating people.

One woman wrote her and said, “you still need to work through ‘samskaras’ from other lifetimes.”

Ok, so now put that in the list of excuses to writing a book.

Then burn that list. Actually set it on fire.

Her book became an incredibly valuable resource for people just starting yoga. Over 20,000 people bought it.

So ok: what happened? It’s a specific technique and you can use this technique for creating anything.

COMPONENTS – List the ten components you need to do something: a book, a website, a business, a spouse, whatever.

What did she need to write a book? The body of the book (50,000 words), a cover, 10 rewrites, and a distribution platform.

FIRST DRAFT – with brute force you can create the first draft of anything.

Example: let’s say you have a design for a jewelry item. Go to shapeways.com and print it up right now using their 3D printer and then set up a store on Etsy and now you can take orders, sell jewelry, and not even carry inventory.

You have a “first draft” of a jewelry store made up of your own unique designs.

EXCUSES – I love excuses. If you don’t have any excuses then nobody will hate you.

If nobody hates you then nobody will like you either (I’m sorry, that’s mostly the way it works).

If you are afraid what parents, friends, family, colleagues think then that’s a good start you’re about to embark on an exciting journey. Bon voyage!

Come up with as many excuses as possible. Then burn them. You have to burn them.

There’s scientific proof on this. But I forget what it is or who the scientist was. Maybe Einstein or Stephen Hawking. I think the ashes that come out of your burned pile of excuses are called “Hawking Radiation”.

I don’t know. I didn’t get to the end of that book. The “Brief History” one.

SPRINKLE IN VALUE – You need to move beyond the first draft. Claudia wrote new chapters. Tied together chapters that didn’t stand alone in a book. And added more value. Then she rewrote. A lot. Now it’s a book!

UPLOAD – You don’t have to upload to Amazon. But that’ s a good place to do it. A trusted site where people buy books.

Maybe nothing would happen afterwards. Nothing magical. No angel would come down and bless you.

But you did it! And now you can do it again. And you can love it. And get better. And give permission. And love more. And give more. And create more. CREATE.

So many times we are afraid to permit ourselves to be flown away on a dream.

Now she had a book done and published. A dream come true. She told me, “I can’t believe I wrote my first book.”

She’s working on her fourth book now. She gets better every time.

That’s what happens. When you do something once, it might not be good. And then you get better. The first time Michael Phelps swam he almost drowned. Then he got a little better.

In 1994 I wrote a book of short stories. I had this one idea: It should fit in the palm of the hand and can be read on a bus, since I used a crowded bus to commute to work then.

So I stapled together all of my short stories and wrote some new ones. Then I made it so you can read it in just one direction, then turn it upside down and read it in the other direction (i.e. you’re always reading the right hand page and ignoring the left hand).

I then went to every store in town and asked them to sell the book for 25 cents. I wanted it to be the price of a video game. Maybe I sold 100 copies. I forget.

It didn’t matter to me if anybody read it. I DID IT.

One time I had an idea for a website. A dating website. I outlined it. Outsourced it to India. Launched it. Failed. Started another one. Failed. Started another one. Failed. Ten times. Succeeded.

I’m not suggesting you do something bad. I’m not suggesting you do something scary. I’m not suggesting you get a lot of people to hate you.

I’m suggesting you give yourself permission to love.

Ideas for a world out of balance… sent straight to your inbox!

My goal is to deliver to you a fresh perspective…

Something to help you make sense of the chaos.

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  • Ona Luna

    “Yoga people have a strange way of hating people.” Ha! :D

  • The importance of first steps. The bad thing is we sometimes don’t bother making our excuses first. Instead we just carry on with the stuff of life and then make our excuses later. Oh I couldn’t because… This is the category I fall into. Admittedly it is hard sometimes. Sometimes you have sick family, or a sick dog, or an intense job, or a needy spouse. In the end though all these things would be better served by you taking that first step. Becoming independent gives you the most precious commodity of all, time.

  • Brandon

    This is so cool and encouraging James!

  • Just stumbled unto your website today and you are such an inspiring writer! I have written and published 2 books but you make me want to go and write and publish 10 more! Thanks for the inspiration Mr. Altucher!

  • zz_marcello

    Very inspiring! Thank you for writing again more often here.

    Im a trader, a speculator, a manager in the automotive industry, a family father, a husband and a friend to some.

    The only real mistakes I made in life was when I went for the “safe route” and did not follow the new path where my heart was pointing to.

    The new path is painful at the beginning. The safe route is painful for the rest of your life…

    All the best!

  • Jing Yan

    As inspiring as always !!! but it might not be so easy to get your ebook standing on the top list without any promotion in these days, i suppose though.

  • Casey Jacox

    Very inspiring and the timing could not be better as I met with one of my best customers today about blogging and beginning to write my 1st book. Thanks for sharing!

  • Yes! A thousand times! it also goes for learning something new, so you can create something new. Give yourself permission to love and to be, and to live.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  • PremiumFatFreeBestellingAuthor

    That’s great and I’m glad for you guys, but… maybe it’s just me, but words like ”bestselling” or ”premium” or ”100% pure” mean squat to me. In fact, I am somewhat skeptical about people/products that use those words to market themselves. It’s all crap and you all know it. It means absolutely nothing. Premium jeans. Premium quality. Has any of you ever seen a product that had words ”lousy crap” written on them? Or ”From the author who published 11 books, but is yet to sell a copy”? No – every single book I have read was from a bestselling author. They were all experts in their field. They knew everything. And all the foods have been fat-free, 100% natural and pure.

    Again, maybe it’s just me, but all those words have lost meaning. They have been used so many times over the past 50 years that I almost avoid things that still use those words. :)

    • Mary

      There is a cereal called Holy Crap. I don’t know who makes it; I saw it in the health food section at my grocery store. I refuse to buy anything that would bill itself that way.

      • Grey_Beard100

        Holy Crap was a home business that was pitched on the TV show Dragon’s Den (Canadian version of Shark Tank). Prior to the TV investor’s involvement, the company had sales of $65K; post TV show they’re at $16M. The founders attribute some of the success to the name of the product, which they say usually gets a smile. You can view the pitch at:

  • Hi James, great article ,it inspires, push you to the limit, to make a start , the first step to do what you wanted to do, but stayed back because of inhibitions you mentioned innumerable. I wanted to make website for my stock predicting system for long, the same inhibitions bothered me all the while, but last four months back, i pulled myself up and sat down to study some books on web designing, at first it was irritating as i could not understand anything, but after innumerable failures and corrections , i could able to make myself my first website for FREE!! all by myself without anybody help http://www.predictnifty.com. This article touches me,as i read this, i relived my experiences i undergone , while designing my website.

  • Dianne Bracero

    I have a dream, a very important dream, but I’m scared to try. When you live with someone that only critisises you, You tend to lose confidence in your self.
    I have never felt so ugly, I never realized how ugly I was until him. So I have decided to focus on the good qualities I possess. I just need to know how to start this process.

    • Starley

      1. Darlin, you ain’t ugly. If I wasn’t married I might be askin for your phone number.

      2. Make a list of things you have done right.

      3. Make a list of things you do well.

      4. Don’t dwell on the mistakes. You want to make that list, Okay. Then burn it. That was the learning process that helped you get good at items 2 and 3.

      5. Other peoples opinions and criticism are not half as important as your own.

      –If they are right then it is something to learn from. You get even better.

      –If it is not true then obviously you should think about how ignorant the person is in making the comment. And give it no value at all.

      Some people just like to have something to bitch about. Makes them feel powerful or something. Mostly because, if you look at them, you will find the items in their list of good things is shorter than yours.

      • Dianne Bracero

        Thank you Starley, I’m going to do this. I really want this.

        • Starley

          Keep the good list with you. And when you see something new you are doing well write it down.

          Years ago I heard a story about Henry Ford Jr. One of the Vice Presidents of Ford Motor Company made a mistake. It cost Ford over 4 million dollars. He offered his resignation.

          Ford Jr. turned down the resignation. He asked, “Why would I want to spend another 4 million for someone else to learn the lesson you have already learned.”

  • meyenberg

    140love.com? :-) I’m reading Choose Yourself for the first time. It’s great! First thing I bought on my brand new kindle and I am loving it. (Actually I first tried to get the physical copy in Mexico City at Ghandi stores but they didn’t have it. And ordering it would’ve taken too long… So now I am proud to own and enjoy my digital copy.)

  • Iryna Fishchenko

    this is fucking brilliant!

  • Hannah Virtue

    Truly inspiring! Even when she had a lot of excuses she can’t but you never gave up on her because you believe that she can do it . You guided her all the way to her success. Now that is really something! Thanks for sharing!

    Entrepreneur’s Education

  • That post was simple to understand, action produced, really obvious and something I would never have thought of. I usually listen to your podcast and checked in today after getting out of the car fired up from that last podcast I listened to (The art of manliness, on iTunes, if you’re counting!). Love your work, thanks for the inspiration!

  • Your blog posting inspired me to create an e-book of my best blog postings. It is called How To Make Money Online: Work From Home and Get Rich On The Internet. I had considered doing it before, and my wife also suggested it, but I never got around to starting the project until the day I read how Claudia did it. For a limited time people can download my e-book for free at http://www.impulsecorp.com/download-my-ebook-for-free
    You don’t need to register or give your email address, and I am not trying to sell or promote anything.